When the Texas Longhorns hired Shaka Smart back in 2015, the consensus around college basketball was that he would take the program to new heights. During his five-year run in Austin though, he’s never taken the team past the Round of 64.
This past season, the Longhorns owned a 19-12 record. They were scheduled to face Texas Tech in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament, but the postseason was canceled unfortunately due to health concerns.
Fans might be impatient with Smart by now, but Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte has not changed his stance on the university’s basketball coach. He told the Austin American-Statesman that Smart will be the head coach of the Longhorns for the 2020-21 season.
“Shaka’s our coach,” Del Conte told the Austin American-Statesman. “Nothing’s changed. We won five of the last six down the stretch, finished third in the conference. We have a good team coming back. Nothing’s changed on my end.”
BREAKING: ‘Shaka’s our coach’: Texas AD Chris Del Conte is sticking with Shaka Smart for 2020-21 https://t.co/C7FpXGQUwm
— Hookem.com (@bevobeat) March 27, 2020
Texas ended the season on a somewhat positive note, winning five out of its last six games.
Del Conte’s decision isn’t going to be universally loved, but it makes sense to give Smart another year with a roster that had zero seniors on it. In fact, the entire team is projected to return.
If Smart can build off this past season’s success, the Longhorns should make the NCAA Tournament in 2021. And if not, he could be looking for another coaching gig.